Berlin Open top seeds Ons Jabeur and Maria Sakkari progressed with relative ease from their first-round matches, but Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza were not so fortunate.

World number four Jabeur, who will team up with Serena Williams at the Eastbourne International, suffered a shock first-round exit at the French Open, but the Tunisian showed no signs of that defeat having affected her in her first grass-court appearance of the season.

Top seed Jabeur required just 73 minutes to overcome Karolina Muchova 6-3 6-3 on Tuesday, with American qualifier Alycia Parks next up after she defeated Qinwen Zheng in straight sets.

Second seed Sakkari, meanwhile, had a similarly comfortable start to her campaign, beating Leolia Jeanjean 6-3 6-2.

Meanwhile, reigning champion Liudmila Samsonova took her place in round two with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Tamara Zidansek.

Samsonova beat Belinda Bencic to claim the title in 2021, and the pair will meet again the quarter-finals should they win respective second-round ties against Veronika Kudermetova and Anna Kalinskaya.

But Kudermetova goes into her clash with Samsonova on a high, having eliminated third seed Sabalenka in a 2-6 7-5 6-4 comeback victory.

WTA Finals champion Muguruza will not be in round two after the Spaniard fell foul of Germany's Andrea Petkovic, who prevailed 7-6 (10-8) 6-4.

"I really do believe that in these really close matches, the simple and little shift of energy can make the difference," Petkovic said.

"If you have the crowd on your side, and they are willing you to the win somehow, I think that can really make a difference."

At the Birmingham Classic, top seed Jelena Ostapenko booked a second-round meeting with Dayana Yastremska.

While Yastremska beat Magda Linette in straight sets, Ostapenko was made to work, with the Latvian requiring two hours to overcome Canada's Rebecca Marino 6-2 5-7 6-3.

Fourth seed Elise Mertens was ditched out by Caty McNally, while former world number two and two-time major champion Petra Kvitova lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Camila Giorgi, the third seed, leads Tereza Martincova after claiming a close first set 9-7 in the tie-break before the match was suspended.

Ons Jabeur was the first big-name casualty at the French Open as Magda Linette produced a shock on day one.

Jabeur arrived at Roland Garros with the expectation she would be one of the most likely to challenge strong favourite Iga Swiatek, but Linette consigned the sixth seed to a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 defeat on Sunday.

Battling Tunisian Jabeur won her maiden WTA 1000 title at the Madrid Open this month and had reached the final of three of the four tournaments she has played on clay this season.

The 27-year-old also started the Paris major with a tour-leading 17-3 record on this surface in 2022, but she was unable to get the better of the world number 56.

Linette was broken three times in the first set, but fought back from 3-1 down in a second-set tie-break to take Jabeur the distance.

It appeared a final-set tie-break would be on the cards in the opening match on Court Philippe-Chatrier, but Linette had other ideas.

The Pole - who struck 32 winners - decisively broke for a third time when Jabeur was serving to stay in the match to claim her first top-10 scalp of the season, setting up a second-round meeting with Martina Trevisan or Harriet Dart.

A junior French Open champion in 2011, Jabeur must lick her wounds after 47 unforced errors to fall at the first hurdle.

Novak Djokovic returns to the grand slam arena, Carlos Alcaraz is threatening to follow in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal, and Iga Swiatek is suddenly unstoppable.

The French Open is rich in promise as the Roland Garros clay courts are swept in anticipation of the greats of tennis stepping out to begin their campaigns.

It has been the women's draw that has looked the most wide open in recent seasons, yet this year it is hard to look beyond Swiatek; however, the men's title battle promises to provide a sensational battle.

Here, Stats Perform assesses the contenders for the two main trophies: the Coupe des Mousquetaires and the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.


KID INTERRUPTS G.O.A.T. RACE

Nadal took full advantage of Djokovic and Roger Federer being absent from the Australian Open, carrying off his 21st grand slam title to go top of the men's all-time list, one ahead of those two great rivals.

Federer is again missing, rehabbing after knee surgery, and the likelihood is he has played his final major already, but Djokovic is emphatically back. His confidence is surging once more, having taken a knock amid the drama of his deportation from Australia in January and being frozen out of the Indian Wells and Miami events due to the United States' COVID-19 rules.

A semi-final run in Madrid, where he lost a three-set monster to Alcaraz, was followed by Djokovic carrying off the Rome title for a sixth time when he saw off Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Djokovic turns 35 on Sunday, as main-draw action gets under way in Paris, but he is the defending champion and firmly believes he can succeed again.

Assessing his prospects for Paris, Djokovic said after his Rome triumph: "With rankings and the way I've been playing in the last few weeks, I would rate myself as one of the favourites. I don't obviously spend too much time thinking who's going to win it or who might have the best chance. I always think about myself.

"I go there with the highest ambitions. I really like my chances. Best-of-five, you play every second day. It's a grand slam. It's different. Really, the grand slams are played different. You have to approach it differently. But the way I've been feeling on the court and off the court in the last few weeks, I really think I can go far."

The chief threat to Djokovic could come not from 'King of Clay' Nadal, but from the 13-time champion's fellow Spaniard, 19-year-old Alcaraz.

Bidding to become the first teenage winner of the men's title since Nadal, also 19, triumphed for the first time in 2005, Alcaraz arrives in Paris with four titles already secured this year, including three on clay in Rio, Barcelona and Madrid. The other title came on hardcourt at the Masters 1000 event in Miami, and Alcaraz has rocketed from 32nd at the start of the year to number six in the world rankings.

Many expect his grand slam haul to reach double digits, just like the Big Three he has grown up watching and learning from. The first slam must come somewhere, and it might well come in Paris in a fortnight's time.

Don't discount Nadal, but his form has been a shade unconvincing since coming back from a rib injury, while Tsitsipas looks the next most likely after winning on clay in Monte Carlo and finishing runner-up to Djokovic in Rome. The Greek has unfinished business in Paris, after the heartache of losing last year's final from two sets up.

 

IGA TO PLEASE? POLE GOES FROM SHOCK WINNER TO FIRM FAVOURITE

The first thing to point out is that the French Open women's singles title has been won by eight different players in the last eight years.

Iga Swiatek was a surprise champion in 2020, at the tournament that was delayed until the Paris autumn due to the pandemic. She was ousted by Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals last year but returns on a roll, having won an incredible five consecutive tournaments.

The 20-year-old has won 38 of the last 39 sets she has contested, the odd one out going against her on a tie-break, and her winning streak has reached 28 matches. Since Ash Barty retired, nobody has been able to lay much of a glove on Swiatek.

If she wins the French Open, that run will reach 35 matches, equalling the longest run in the 2000s, previously achieved by Venus Williams during a glory run that saw her win events including Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and US Open in the year 2000.

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur has been spoken of as a possible challenger to Swiatek, but she was swatted away 6-2 6-2 by the youngster in the Rome final last weekend.

So who challenges the favourite? Even those who have been there and done that struggle to look beyond Swiatek. According to Martina Navratilova: "You can’t be any hotter than she is right now."

Navratilova told the WTA website: "She looks pretty unbeatable on any surface, particularly the clay now."

The last player to beat Swiatek was Jelena Ostapenko, in Dubai. Ostapenko, a surprise 2017 French Open champion, had a sizzling spell of form in February but has gone off the boil since. It might take someone of her hard-hitting nature to knock Swiatek out of her stride, though, so if Ostapenko can navigate the early rounds she becomes a real contender. The Latvian's career record against Swiatek? An impressive 3-0.

Who else? Simona Halep's coaching tie-up with Patrick Mouratoglou – Serena Williams' former coach of long-standing – has raised eyebrows and now it might be time for it to raise her results level too. Halep has won in Paris before, in 2018, so don't count her out.

Aryna Sabalenka, Sakkari, Paula Badosa. Such players come into the mix if Swiatek slips up, but there has been scant sign of that happening.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are all on the same half of the draw at the French Open, while women's world number one Iga Swiatek will face a qualifier in the first round at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, who will make his Grand Slam return having missed the Australian Open, opens in Paris against Yoshihito Nishioka, while record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal meets Australia's Jordan Thompson.

The veteran pair of Djokovic and Nadal could challenge each other in the quarter-finals in the top half of the draw, where Alcaraz could come across world number three Alexander Zverev.

Alcaraz faces a qualifier in the first round and has won 16 of his last 17 matches, with the one blemish on his remarkable run coming against Sebastian Korda, who the Spaniard could meet in the third round.

Daniil Medvedev will have to get past Argentine Facundo Bagnis in the first round, while Lorenzo Musetti stands in the way of last year's runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas are joined in the wide-open bottom half of the draw by Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev, who meet home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and South Korea's Soonwoo Kwon respectively.

In the women's draw, 2020 champion Swiatek comes in as favourite and will look to continue her 28-match winning streak when she faces a qualifier in the first round, as does US Open winner Emma Raducanu.

The Brit will then take on Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Wang Xinyu before a potential last-16 meeting with Ons Jabeur, who first has to get past Poland's Magda Linette.

Meanwhile, Karolina Pliskova – who has a first-round clash with France's Tessah Andrianjafitrimo – could set up a quarter-final meeting with Swiatek, but the Pole may have to get past Simona Halep in the fourth round first.

Defending champion Barbora Krejcikova starts against Diane Parry, while Naomi Osaka was drawn against the in-form Amanda Anisimova, who beat the Japanese in the third round of the Australian Open.

Iga Swiatek plans to "celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu" after becoming the first player since Serena Williams in 2013 to win five successive WTA Tour events with victory at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The world number one faced Ons Jabeur – who had been on an 11-match winning run – in Sunday's final in Rome and simply had too much for the Tunisian.

Swiatek won 6-2 6-2, with the 20-year-old Pole getting an early break to establish a 3-0 lead that put her in control of the first set.

As it happened, last week's Madrid Open champion Jabeur never managed to wrest control back from her opponent – her only break of the match came while 4-1 down in the second, with Swiatek digging deep to save four break points in her next service game.

Swiatek then saw things out to defend her Rome title and add to her impressive recent streak.

Additionally, Swiatek has emerged victorious from every WTA 1000 event she has entered this season, having previously won in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

But she was quick to salute Jabeur's efforts after another commendable showing.

Swiatek said: "I want to congratulate Ons because she had such a good run on the clay court.

"You have shown fight, spirit, so much variety that it's really nice to have you on tour. Your tennis is different and your tennis is really interesting for women's tennis I think."

As for her own performances, Swiatek added: "It wasn't easy for the whole week to play every day, but the crowd gave me so much energy.

"It was so nice to play here, be in Rome, and I agree with Ons in terms of good pasta! And today I'll celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu – no regrets!"

Swiatek now heads to Roland Garros – the scene of her first and only previous grand slam success in 2020 – as the firm favourite.

Ons Jabeur believes clawing back a match point against Daria Kasatkina puts her in a strong place to push for glory against world number one Iga Swiatek.

Jabeur won for an 11th straight time as she defeated Kasatkina 6-4 1-6 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia on Saturday.

Her victory sets up a final against Swiatek, who extended her winning streak to 27 matches by defeating Aryna Sabalenka.

Jabeur, who won in the Spanish capital last week, is aiming to become the third player to win the Madrid and Rome titles in a single year. Dinara Safina in 2009 and Serena Williams in 2013 are the others to have managed that feat.

However, it would all have been different had Kasatkina converted her match point in the deciding set.

"It means a lot to me, especially mentally, that I could come back from a match point and prove that I did that today," Jabeur said.

"Hopefully I can keep being stronger mentally, because I know [the final] is all about mental [strength].

"I knew that physically I could handle anything. Believing that I could play even four weeks in a row, I can do it. I am exhausted, yes, but it's part of my job.

"It's going to help me push more. There is only one match left. I gave it all from the first round, now I should really continue giving my best."

Swiatek found matters rather more comfortable against Sabalenka, who she beat 6-2 6-1. The 20-year-old is in the hunt for a fourth title of 2022.

"At these tournaments where we play day after day, we don't really get time to celebrate," she told reporters.

"Right after we finish the previous match, we have to think about the next one.

"It's pretty tough. But I know that after I'm going to be really proud of myself. For sure I'm going to have time to think about what I did.

"I'm just constantly surprising myself that I can do better and better. I feel like I actually can believe now that the sky's the limit. That's the fun part, for sure."

In the last 25 years, only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Swiatek this season (17).

Daria Kasatkina had progress to the Internazionali d'Italia final in her grasp, but Ons Jabeur struck back to set up a showdown with Iga Swiatek.

World number one Swiatek saw off Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday's other semi-final, and it is Tunisia's Jabeur who will meet her on Sunday.

Jabeur had to do things the hard way, saving a matchpoint in the deciding set before going on to prevail 6-4 1-6 7-5.

The victory is Jabeur's 11th in a row and sends the 27-year-old into her second final in the space of a week following her win in Madrid.

Jabeur started strong with an immediate break of serve, yet Kasatkina stubbornly fought back with two breaks of her own.

However, a slip up from the Russian at 3-1 up allowed Jabeur to drag herself back into the set before she broke again to win it.

The momentum swung the other way as Kasatkina dominated the second set to force a decider, in which Jabeur's steel was on full show as she sealed a fourth straight win over the world number 23 with a sublime drop-shot.

Jabeur has now won 17 matches on clay in 2022, more than any other player on the WTA Tour, while she is the first to reach three finals on dirt in the same season since Simona Halep did so in 2017.

Should she overcome Swiatek – who is herself on a remarkable 27-match winning run – Jabeur will become the third player to win the Madrid and Rome titles in a single year. Dinara Safina in 2009 and Serena Williams in 2013 are the others to have managed that feat.

Iga Swiatek's superb form continued as she overcame another grand slam champion in the form of Bianca Andreescu to reach the last four of the Internazionali d'Italia.

Swiatek, who will be aiming to regain the French Open title she won in 2020 when she heads to Roland Garros later this month, has won 26 matches on the bounce after a 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 triumph over Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion.

The 20-year-old Pole has now won all nine of her matches since she became world number one following Ash Barty's retirement in March. 

That makes her part of an exclusive club, with only Justine Henin (in 2004) and Victoria Azarenka (in 2012) having achieved that feat in the 21st century.

Swiatek's winning streak also matches Azarenka's 2012 sequence as the fifth-longest this century. Henin and the two Williams sisters are the only players to have won more consecutive matches since the start of 2000.

"Being in that kind of group is like a dream come true for me," said Swiatek, who has won 38 of her past 39 sets since her fourth-round match at the Indian Wells Open.

"I wouldn't think of that when I was younger. I'm pretty happy that I could do that because consistency was the thing I really wanted to work on last year. This year I feel like it clicked."

The only player to have beaten Swiatek in a tour-level quarter-final to date is Maria Sakkari, at Roland Garros last year, but the Greek saw victory slip from her grasp against Ons Jabeur.

Sakkari led 6-1 5-2 against the Tunisian, yet Jabeur rallied remarkably to claim a first career win against a top-five opponent on clay, prevailing 1-6 7-5 6-1.

After winning the Madrid Open last week, Jabeur has now won 10 straight matches, while she has claimed 16 victories on clay in 2022, leading the way on the WTA Tour.

While Jabeur will face world number 23 Daria Kasatkina, whose opponent Jil Teichmann retired when 6-4 3-2 down, Swiatek will go up against third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Amanda Anisimova had not lost to Sabalenka in four previous meetings over the past three years, but her luck ran out as she went down 4-6 6-3 6-2.

World number one Iga Swiatek beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome on Thursday. 

Swiatek, who became the first female player to win 25 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015, will face Bianca Andreescu in the last eight after she eased past Petra Martic 6-4 6-4.

"I didn't start well, and everybody could see that," Swiatek told reporters. "I'm really happy with the way I reacted and how I improved in the first set.

"Also how different the second set looked to the first one because I could really reset and really change the way I played. That's the most positive thing for me."

There was a shock in the final game of the day, though, as Daria Kasatkina dumped out number two seed Paula Badosa 6-4 6-4. 

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka sealed a third straight win over Jessica Pegula, easing to a 6-1 6-4 victory, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari defeated Coco Gauff 6-4 7-5.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins was knocked out by unseeded compatriot Amanda Anisimova, the 20-year-old cruising past the Australian Open finalist 6-2 6-2.

There were also victories for Jil Teichmann, who overcame Elena Rybakina 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-5, and ninth seed Ons Jabeur, who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-2.

Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa progressed to the third round of the Internazionali d'Italia with ease as the former continued her impressive winning run on Wednesday.

Top seed Switaek, seeking a fifth consecutive title, breezed past Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 6-0 as she became the first female player to win 24 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015.

Badosa followed suit by dispatching Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1 in just an hour and 17 minutes, teeing up a third-round clash with Daria Kasatkina, who beat Leylah Fernandez 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Aryna Sabalenka, the third favourite in Italy, also made light work of Zhang Shuai to triumph 6-2 6-0, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari cruised past Madrid Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-2.

Sakkari will next face a Rome rematch with Coco Gauff, who defeated compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4. Teenager Gauff's sole win against Sakkari came at this tournament in the second round last year.

Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Garbine Muguruza 3-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, and will next meet Ons Jabeur, who made it eight successive main-draw wins by defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins also battled past former world number one Simona Halep 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

There was no such joy for fifth seed Anett Kontaveit as she crashed out to Petra Martic in straight sets, while Jil Teichmann upset former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova in a three-set thriller.

Belinda Bencic, who was ranked as 12th seed, was another early casualty as she fell to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 defeat against American Amanda Anisimova.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula secured her third-round spot after Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to injury, with Victoria Azarenka earning a straightforward 6-2 6-4 victory over Camila Osorio to get a shot at favourite Swiatek in the next round.

Emma Raducanu retired from her first-round match with Bianca Andreescu at the Internazionali d'Italia because of a lower back injury.

The world number 12 was trailing 6-2 2-1 when calling time on the match against Andreescu in a highly anticipated showdown between two of the past three US Open winners.

Raducanu initially left the court for treatment ahead of the seventh game of the opening set for a medical timeout and completed just four more games.

Speaking after her withdrawal, coming two weeks before the French Open, Raducanu explained she did not want to aggravate an injury sustained at last week's Madrid Open.

"I thought maybe taking one, two days off, it would go away because a lot of the other small niggles I've had, they've kind of gone away after taking, like, two days off," she said.

"Then I got here and I was training, but it just didn't seem to get better. I was training with some limitations. I wasn't moving really.

"I was just playing where I knew where the ball was coming, just staying in one corner. I think I must have underestimated the unpredictability of competition in a match.

"The last few weeks have been really positive. I've learned a lot about myself and my game has definitely improved on this surface but I need to make sure my back is fully right.

"I need to just keep on it. I don't want to play my next match with a feeling of limitation because I think that I learned my lesson from this week, when to push, when not to push." 

Ons Jabeur joined Andreescu in the last 32 with a 6-0 7-6 (7-1) victory over Sorana Cirstea to keep her impressive run of form going.

The Tunisian won her first WTA 1000 title in Madrid last week and has now won seven successive main draw matches for the first time in her career

Elsewhere in Tuesday's action, American qualifier Lauren Davis pulled off a shock 6-2 6-3 win against number 11 seed Jelena Ostapenko.

Fellow Americans Jessica Pegula, Madison Brengle and Amanda Anisimova also advanced, beating Liudmila Samsonova, Marta Kostyuk and Tereza Martincova respectively.

Anisimova, who is now the player with the most wins in three sets so far in 2022 with nine, will face Belinda Bencic for a place in the last 16.

Ons Jabeur became the first player representing an African country to land a WTA 1000 title as she fended off Jessica Pegula in the Madrid Open final.

The Tunisian beat her American opponent 7-5 0-6 6-2, regrouping well after a major dip in the second set to scoop the biggest title of her career.

The history-making victory means Jabeur will jump from 10th to seventh in the WTA rankings on Monday, matching a career high, and she earns €1,041,570 in prize money.

After losing to Belinda Bencic in the Charleston Open final last month, Jabeur's run on the Spanish clay shows she is becoming increasingly resilient, and comes as a timely boost ahead of the French Open getting under way in two weeks' time.

"We've lost a lot of finals, but today I'm happy I pulled out the win," Jabeur said at the end of the match, addressing her support team.

"It was very tough, especially last time in Charleston, so thank you guys for always believing in me and pushing me forward."

Jabeur came from 4-1 behind to take the opener, and she now holds a 17-0 match record when winning first sets this year.

Pegula broke in the fourth game, having fended off three break points in the opening game of the contest. Jabeur hit back and soon had the match back on serve, before saving a set point with a thumping backhand.

The 28-year-old Pegula, daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, has carved out a successful career at the top level in tennis, reaching back-to-back Australian Open quarter-finals this season and last.

She was in trouble when she lost her serve in the 11th game though, and Jabeur capitalised to snatch the opener.

Pegula made a flying start to the second set, establishing a swift double break, and a flat Jabeur found no way back. A drop shot into the net on set point summed up her drastic drop in level.

Jabeur stopped the rot by breaking serve at the start of the decider. Pegula immediately got back on level terms, but another break for Jabeur saw her pull away, on her way to victory in an hour and 54 minutes, a tour-leading 12th win of the season on clay.

The impressive Jabeur is also the first Arab winner of a tournament at this lofty level.

Ons Jabeur became the first player representing an African nation to reach the final of a WTA 1000 tournament as she set up a clash with Jessica Pegula at the Madrid Open.

Tunisian Jabeur, who beat Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic and two-time grand slam winner Simona Halep to reach the semi-finals, needed just an hour and one minute to secure a routine last-four win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

The world number 10 dominated her Russian opponent in a 6-2 6-3 win, before setting her sights on victory in what will be her sixth career final on the WTA Tour but first at such a high tier.

"I'm going to put a positive here. I want to win this final," Jabeur said after her win. "I'm going to put my heart, my favourite drop shot, my forehand in.

"I'm just going to really give my best. I don't want to regret [anything]. The main important thing for me, I know it's winning the title, but [also] knowing that I gave it all during the match and not regretting that. I know if this one [title] is not coming, then there is another one.

"I keep pushing myself to do better. The proof is that from Charleston [where Jabeur lost the final to Bencic last month], I worked really hard to be in the finals here. Like I said, I'm going to leave my heart on the court on Saturday."

Jabeur will face American Pegula in Saturday's final after she registered a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Switzerland's Jil Teichmann.

The 12th seed was tested when Teichmann fought back from a break down to 4-4 in the second set, with 28-year-old Pegula managing to dig deep to break once more and reach what is also her first WTA 1000 final.

Saturday's contest will represent just the fourth final of Pegula's career, and the first since losing to compatriot Serena Williams in straight sets at the 2020 Auckland Open, but she will enter the top 10 of the WTA rankings with a win.

"I knew I was close to the top 10, but it's so hard, you have to step up and do really well to win a tournament," Pegula said on court.

"I'm just so happy to be in the final, it's my first final in a 1000. I've been knocking on the door in the last few tournaments, [but] I was able to take care of business today."

Jabeur and Pegula have met on four previous occasions with each player boasting two victories each, Jabeur winning their last meeting at the last-16 stage of this year's Dubai Tennis Championships.

Ons Jabeur produced a fine display as she made light work for Simona Halep to secure her place in the Madrid Open semi-finals.

Former world number one Halep was the only player to have won the competition to have reached the last eight, but she was no match for the Tunisian, who won 6-3 6-2 in just over an hour.

After a difficult start to the year, Jabeur has hit her stride in recent times and will be contesting a second semi-final in three tournaments.

While Jabeur caught the eye, particularly with her penchant for a dropshot, Halep proved to be her own worst enemy, recording 12 more unforced errors (20) than winners (eight).

Up next for Jabeur is qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat 2019 French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova 6-4 6-3 to reach her first WTA 1000 last-four clash.

Alexandrova has won six of her previous seven meetings with Jabeur.

Meanwhile, Anhelina Kalinina saw her impressive run ended by Jil Teichmann. The Ukrainian had seen off three major winners on the bounce in Sloane Stephens, Garbine Muguruza and Emma Raducanu, but she was beaten in straight sets this time.

Teichmann – who won 6-3 6-4 – will face Jessica Pegula for a place in the final, with the American eliminating Spain's final hope of a home winner in Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-4 6-2.

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